Supportive Housing Works to End Homelessness

This blog space is dedicated to the needs of those who are homeless due to mental illness or the many other reasons that a person is in need of supported housing. We include articles from various websites that advocate for the end of homelessness, stigmas attached to mental illness and inclusive community living. Together we can find a solution that builds positive well living for people in our communities and across the world!

 Report from U.S. Dept. of Health.  Supportive housing is proven to help people who face the most complex challenges–individuals and families who are not only homeless, but who also have very low incomes and serious, persistent issues that may include substance use, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS–to live more stable, productive lives. 

 Without a stable place to live and a support system to help them address their underlying problems, most homeless people bounce from one emergency system to the next–from the streets to shelters to public hospitals to psychiatric institutions and detox centers and back to the streets–endlessly. The extremely high cost of this cycle of homelessness, in human and economic terms, can be seen in the lives of people like Frank, a formerly homeless veteran from Chicago.

 View pictures and hear a real-life experience of how supportive housing works by watching the multimedia presentation, More Than a Place to Live, produced by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

 The ever-increasing momentum of government, corporate and philanthropic investment in supportive housing has been bolstered by research documenting its effectiveness. To date, these studies indicate:

 Positive impacts on health.  Decreases of more than 50% in tenants’ emergency room visits and hospital inpatient days; decreases in tenants’ use of emergency detoxification services by more than 80%; and increases in the use of preventive health care services.Positive impacts on treating mental illness.  At least a third of those people living in streets and shelters have a severe and persistent mental illness.  Supportive housing has proven to be a popular and effective approach for many mentally ill people, as it affords both independence and as-needed support. 

 A study of nearly 900 homeless people with mental illness provided with supportive housing found 83.5% of participants remained housed a year later, and that participants experienced a decrease in symptoms of schizophrenia and depression.*  A study of almost 5,000 homeless individuals with mental illness placed in supportive housing through the NY/NY program confirmed that nearly 80% remained housed a year later, with 10% moving on to independent settings.

 Positive impacts on reducing or ending substance use.  Once people with histories of substance use achieve sobriety, their living situation is often a factor in their ability to stay clean and sober.  A one-year follow-up study of 201 graduates of the Eden Programs chemical dependency treatment programs in Minneapolis found that 56.6% of those living independently remained sober; 56.5% of those living in a halfway house remained sober; 57.1% of those living in an unsupported SRO remained sober; while 90% of those living in supportive housing remained sober

* US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Making a Difference: Report of the McKinney Research Demonstration Program for Homeless Mentally Ill Adults. 1994. 


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